By  on June 24, 2005

NEW YORK — Federated Department Stores replaced the head of its Macy's Home Store, signaling that a year-old strategy is not progressing as smoothly as anticipated, retail experts said.

Timothy M. Adams, a Federated veteran, was named chairman of the Macy's Home Store, effective July 25. He succeeds Eric Salus, who resigned, Federated said in a statement Thursday. Executives were not available to comment on the change.

Macy's Home Store, based here, is a central organization responsible for the buying, merchandising and marketing of home furnishings for 423 Macy's stores in the U.S. It has been in place about 10 months. Macy's home business is said to have done no worse than before the centralization, but improvements are overdue and Federated executives have been disappointed, retail sources said.

The Bloomingdale's division of Federated operates its home business separately.

Generally, home merchandise has not been selling as well as apparel, though some improvements have been seen in furniture and luggage has been consistent. Retailers blame the results on a lack of newness in areas such as home textiles, housewares and china. For Federated, the situation is complicated because centralizing operations represents a major cultural change. It gives one individual oversight for the entire home business at Macy's, which has five divisions operating out of New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle and San Francisco. Previously, each division handled its own home buying, marketing and merchandising.

Federated's home centralization is a key initiative orchestrated by chairman and chief executive officer Terry Lundgren to update assortments and tap into trends relevant to consumers. It becomes even more crucial because of Federated's pending merger with May Department Stores, which shareholders are expected to approve on July 13. The merger will double the size of Federated's home business.

Adams was chairman of the Miami-based 61-unit Macy's Florida chain, which last year was the corporation's best-performing division. Federated said his successor will be named soon.

Salus had been president of the home division since its April 2004 inception. "Getting the Macy's Home Store organization off the ground was a daunting task, and we appreciate Eric's contributions," Federated vice chairman Janet Grove said in a statement. The Macy's Home Store operation reports to her.

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